Lassa fever is an animal-borne, or zoonotic, acute viral illness. It is endemic in parts of West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. The illness was discovered in 1969 and is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred.
The Federal Government is introducing a funding mechanism to carter for patients with confirmed cases of Lassa Fever in the country, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said.
He explained that the aim of the healthcare fund was to ensure that money does not become a hindrance for patients in accessing Lassa fever treatment. According to him, efforts are being made by the government through the NCDC to reduce the burden of Lassa fever treatment on patients, pending the take- off of the healthcare fund.
The NCDC chairman explained that the federal government level has made sure that the core treatment costs for Lassa fever are covered, admission in a hospital and other costs might be accrued to the patient. He said that What they have been doing with the Teaching Hospitals is to make sure that cost is reduced to the barest minimum.
He has urged Nigerians to adopt all possible preventive measures such as safe food storage principle and keeping a clean environment to ward off rodents.
In his words “You don’t need to be wealthy to keep your environment clean, so, the key thing is to get the messages out in all Nigerian languages that this is what you need to do to prevent the disease.” Prevention is so much cheaper than cure.